Zimbabwe: Police Crack Whip On Lockdown Violations

Police have arrested about 742 000 people for violating national lockdown regulations, since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March last year and will continue to enforce all lockdown regulations.

With the recent tightening of the general lockdown and the greater tightening of the lockdown in four districts, the police have reminded the public that those who continue defying such regulations risk arrest and prosecution. In particular the police said they would act against those at any gathering, since all were temporarily banned, and would enforce the limit of 30 people at a funeral, the only permitted social or religious gathering.

Police are enforcing the 10pm to 5:30 am curfew order.

Of the arrests made so far, Harare had 225 750, Bulawayo 106 511, Manicaland 91 798, Masvingo 60 607, Mashonaland East 67 419, Mashonaland West 56 603, Mashonaland Central 51 765, Midlands 36 715, Matabeleland South 22 066 and Matabeleland North 15 30.

Most of arrested paid deposit fines but some have appeared in court on the more serious charges.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi reiterated that the enforcement of the Government's revised Covid-19 lockdown measures on health and security as announced, would be done without fear or favour.

"Mourners are implored to stick to the stipulated figure of 30 people at funerals and observe all Covid-19 protocols. Patrols and monitoring will be done by police to ensure that beerhalls, bars and nightclubs remain closed," he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said it was disturbing to note that some people were not following the regulations on the wearing of face masks, social distancing and sanitising in some public places.

Kombi owners outside the Zupco ambit and mushikashika were targets for enforcement.

Intensified lockdown measures recently came into force and barred all social and religious gatherings, while firmly enforcing existing protocols in the business sector.

They have been endorsed by the World Health Organisation as a prompt, effective and welcome measure following last week's noticeable rise in Covid-19 infection rates.

Vice President and Health and Child Care Minister Dr Constantino Chiwenga announced the intensified lockdown. The measures keep the economy open but businesses have been warned that enforcement will be tighter, with offenders now facing the possible loss of business licences.

The major changes are a one-hour reduction in the maximum number of working hours from 8am to 6pm while duty staff on business premises should be at half level.

All meetings and workshops are to be held virtually and restaurants are only allowed to serve take aways.

Another major change to prevent or slow infection, was a ban on all religious and social gatherings, except funerals that have been limited to 30 people. Night clubs and beerhalls remain shut.

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